The 2022 WSHA Legislative Summary is now available digitally on the WSHA website, and physical copies will be mailed to hospitals and health systems next week.
The annual publication highlights the association’s work during the state’s legislative session, including policy and budget priorities and a breakdown by bill of results. We are pleased to report extremely positive results for hospitals and healthcare from this “short” 60-day session.
Short sessions generally do not deal with major or controversial changes to state law. This year has been an exception, with nurses’ unions and their partners in the Legislative Assembly attempting to pass tough hospital staffing mandates. While the bill, HB 1868, passed the House, it died in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. It was a massive victory for health care in Washington state, as the legislation would have resulted in major bed closures. We could not have achieved this success without the advocacy efforts of members. Thousands of people opposed the bill, contacted their legislators and testified.
In other good news, the Legislative Assembly has funded all of the WSHA’s budget priorities. This included nearly $50 million for health care workforce development, creating more niche nursing programs, investing in simulation training equipment, granting grants to nurses supervising students, providing loan repayment for nurse educators, and speeding up the licensing process for nurses. The Legislative Assembly has also allocated nearly $550 million to remove barriers to hospital discharge and ensure that patients who are ready to leave hospital have an appropriate place to receive long-term services. during the pandemic and beyond.
Going forward, the Government Affairs team is focused on empowering members in building legislative relationships, advocating when developing agency rules and implementing new laws, and planning for the next legislative session. We sincerely thank our members who have testified before legislators, participated in WSHA Advocacy Week, and analyzed the impact of bills on hospital operations. Your efforts are essential to our legislative success!